Monday, August 29, 2011

Yogi Zen

Every morning on board ship,as I look at the time, the theme from the YOGI BEAR SHOW runs through my mind. For those who don't remember the Hanna Barbera cartoons it went like this, at least the part that repeats itself to me, "He may sleep too noon but before it's dark, he'll have every picnic basket that's in Jellystone Park...."
At home I rarely sleep past eight AM but with none of my stuff here to entertain me I find it better to sleep in. It helps pass the time between shows. While others may have their favorite activities on board.... Mine is performing my show. It doesn't happen often enough on these gigs. As I have said before they actually pay me for down time...that's the work, doing the show is the joy.
I have still not connected to the ship internet and so far have not been successful in finding free wifi on shore. So I slowly thumb type this on my blackberry. It can connect through Verizon on my phone plan. But I have to say surfing the internet and typing blogs are not pleasurable on this format.
However, I have been writing more interesting stuff on my IPAD and will Post publish when the opportunity allows.
But back to Yogi Bear. He sounded a little like Phil Silvers and with his soft spoken pal Boo Boo the bear they tried to out wit Mr. Ranger to pilfer picnic baskets from Jellystone Park. Boo Boo was always cautious about causing trouble while Yogi seemed to have no integrity when it came to Picnic Baskets.
I guess I see myself and Bob as Yogi and Boo Boo in reverse. Bob being the devious one and me the more cautious character. I'm not sure I have a good picnic basket reference. However, I do relate to the final line in the song.
"Yogi has it better than a millionaire, just because he's smarter than the average bear." I'm not sure I am smarter but I do feel luckier than the average bear.
I think I will head up to the buffet and pilfer some picnic baskets. Are you with me Boo Boo Boy?
As you were,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hurricane Irene
Heading off to chase a hurricane on a big ship. It has already changed my itinerary and I have to embark at a different port. It requires a red eye to Miami and an early morning connection to get there, and perform on the night that I board.  I never have enjoyed traveling, especially commercial air travel.  I am close to three million miles on American Airlines, and it doesn't get any easier with repetition.
It is a very long trip and a lot of days away from home to do four hours on stage in seven days, but that is the cruise business of show business. And fortunately in my case they know that they need to pay me well for a massive amount of down time.  Most everyone on the ship will be glad to be on the ship away from home.  I will perhaps be the only one who is ready to go back home even before I board.
I was discussing these cruise ship gigs with one of my Road Monkey friends who is also a "regular".  It is always an adventure to cross country borders, immigration and customs to get on a ship in some small port.  It is never the same, the rules change daily.  It is sometimes a wonder that we ever get on the ship at the time we are supposed to.  Everything is easy once you are on the ship, but getting on and off in foreign countries is the tricky part. My friend said that it only works because those of us doing it have done it so many different ways before.  We know how to get through it, how to avoid the pits and the cruise ship  depends on us knowing how to adapt and make it all work out.  I personally get tired of reinventing the wheel every time I get on a ship. I love to perform... it is all the other stuff involved in the travel department that depresses me.
So... blogs may be sporatic at best for the next few days.  However, although access to the net is limited on a ship, I will have time to be alone with my thoughts and perhaps have some better ones than now.
As you were,

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Automatic Dialing
Smart phones are too smart these days.  I don't even know my parents phone number by heart, but the smart phone does.  Not to suggest that the smart phone has a heart.  A smart phone has no emotions or else it would be called something like the petulant phone or supportive phone or even the melancholy phone for lonely people. A smart phone is just what the name says it is,  it is smart and it is a phone. But now I think the device is doing less phone work and more smart work, smart ass is more like it, but they don't have an ass either.  All they are is smart and they don't care about human feelings.  That is where smart becomes arrogant.
I wrote a blog about the picture I took that my phone sent to several people I did not want to receive it. Really Smart phone. It wasn't that bad, but what if it had been something more provocative?  I can always claim that my account was hacked and someone is trying to frame me by posting compromising pictures.  That line of defense worked so well for Anthony Weiner some months back.
So the house phone rings, I answer and there is no one there.  That's followed closely by the ringing of my Smart phone. I answer that phone and there is no one on the line.  After no one answered on the third call, I hung up and redialed the incoming  number. It is busy. I hang up.
Moments go by and the cell phone rings again... same number. I answer.  It is my friend Harry who says,
"My penis loves you." 
I say, "How could that be because I am certain that I have never even met your penis."
"Well, something is going on between you two because it keeps dialing your number."
"Was that you who called four times and didn't answer."
"No. I didn't call. It was my penis."
"You mean you butt dialed me..."
"I keep my phone in my front pocket. My butt had nothing to do with it... It was my.."
I blurt it out before he can say it, "Penis.  So now that I am talking to you. What's up."
"We just talked yesterday. I have done nothing since then to talk about."
"Did I tell you about the show we saw...."
"Yeah..... But I got to go. Can't talk right now."
"You called me."
"It was my penis......If you guys want to talk I'll put the phone back in my pocket."
"Thanks no.... I'm hanging up now."
"I think I'll have to change your speed dial number to keep my penis from calling."
"Do what you have to do, but make sure whomever gets my old speed dial number knows your penis"

Here is the point.  If a smart phone will create and allow a conversation like the one above to take place, you can't really say they are that smart. A totally unnecessary communication that traveled thousands of miles at lightning speed through the air and over optical cables to connect. 
Here is a thought.  I wonder what the actual cost in technology is when someone butt dials a number from their contact list. Whatever income no matter how small goes to the provider.  So...What if every smart phone had a random time programed into the software that generated a pocket (or penis) call, not often enough that you would notice. It would be an extensive algorithm designed to keep the calls above suspicion.  That few cents multiplied by all the smart phones in the USA comes to quite a lot of Benjamin's.  And.. It is always a call to someone in your contacts that you know. You will call them back and have a conversation. Just like what happened with me and my friend Harry. To have the engaging conversation we had generated five small phone calls before we actually talked.  I am sensing a money generating smart phone virus that is duping us all out of money.  Perhaps we need to call it what it is.... A sucker phone.
As you were,

Monday, August 22, 2011

Show Biz Laboratory 
There is something happening in Hancock Park that is very important. In an era when one might ask, "where are all the talented young performers these days?" the answer is, "where they have always been".  That place is the magical, enchanted, yes even haunted theatre that Floyd Thayer built.  You can read more about the unique past of what is called "the most important address in magic" by referring to my blog from a year ago about this Theatre. Or just google Brookledge Theatre on your smart phone and be stunned. Floyd Thayer built professional magic illusions but perhaps the greatest magic box he ever built was the theatre in his own back yard.
As a hopeless romantic it is hard for me not to see last night's event as a ressurection of the very spirit of Vaudeville.  It is a live controlled theatrical experiment in a day when most people are getting their taste of variety entertainment from flickering YouTube videos. It is the Manhattan project of entertainment who's impact will be no less influential. It is called the Brookledge Follies.
For an audience of less than a hundred invitation only patrons, young performers reach deep into their creative souls and give new life to classic arts, while sharing the stage with seasoned performers who have kept a light in the window waiting for the new artists to arrive.  Long time pros Goldfinger and Dove brought their unique twist to a couple of tricks.  Jonnathan Pendragon performed a classic cut the lady in half with the grand daughter of the woman who performed that very trick on the Brookledge stage many decades before.
The show begins with a piano player, audience level, lit with Gothic twin candelabras.  The baby grand seems to be in tune with a different dimension, but in definite harmony to the history of the surroundings. Like the silent movie musicians of a by gone era, the piano player provides the musical and emotional link to each autonomous performance.
There is suddenly a disembodied soprano voice filling the theatre.  It takes a moment to realize that the voice is coming from a beautiful and sultry young woman sitting in the third row. As the spot light slowly finds her, she performs what can only be called a vocal lap dance at her seat.    Only leaving her chair for a brief moment on stage where she lounges sensually, she makes artistic love to a Gershwin tune.  If it wasn't obvious by the mere surroundings one knows this is going to be a different kind of theatrical experience 
A talented comedy magician is the compere for the evening of 9 acts. Each act performs what we know as magic, juggling, comedy, sword swallowing, singing or body contortion but these artists are not so easily labeled.  It is not so much that they have unusual skills, it is the character and presentation of these skill sets that elevate them to artistic expression.  Everything old seems new again at this show.
A simple egg bag trick by a magician and his organ grinder monkey, becomes a livestock production of not only a rabbit, but a mouse, scorpion and tarantula. Each time the unsuspecting volunteer reaches into the bag.... a new... even creepier creature materializes. 
Then there is Bret, the sword swallower, who performs in a straight jacket and hospital gown to insane music looking like the very asylum inmate who would perform such inhuman feats.
The Blood Brothers turn Houdini's needle swallowing illusion into an erotic encounter reminiscent of the spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp. 
An Aryan female accordion player sings suggestive songs in pigeon German, wearing a sexy version of bucolic Germany garb. Think Terri Garr in "Young Frankenstein". 
A juggler performs upside down hanging from the shoulders of an unsuspecting member of the audience. 
A comic accidentally drops a cigar box off the stage, berating the man who tries to help retrieve it. He screams at him... "Don't touch that... it could be a magic box... you know nothing about magic or performing, leave it to the professionals." It is hysterically funny because the man trying to help happens to be Sigfreid, the blonde half of the world's most famous magic duo Sigfreid and Roy. 
Then there is Bonnie. A 2 foot cube is brought on stage by two gentlemen. From what we come to realize is a transparent glass box,  a beautiful girl unfurls from the confines of her tiny coffin to the music of Tom Waits. She is made up to look like a sexy Betty Boop doll dressed in a fantasy maid's outfit. She bends and twists her body in ways not even a rag doll could survive. How can one turn the ability to dislocate every joint in their body into a seductive tease? You have to see it to believe it.
And that is the very point.  You have to see it, experience it, in this theatre on this night and with these performers. Like trying to photograph lightning, a filmed reproduction of this show would not have the same impact. 
I told  Erika and Libby Larsen, the daughter and granddaughter of Brookledge's owner, how important these shows are to the variety arts.  It is the incubator for the next generation of performers.  Both ladies said how important it also was to the Brookledge Theatre itself. They said it only comes alive when there are are great shows on its stage, it radiates in the limelight of talent. It is a glove without a hand when there is not a show.  You can feel it.  There is definite pride coming from the very rafters themselves.
Thank you Irene, Erika and Libby Larsen for keeping the theatre fed and alive. I am glad to be witness and sometimes participant in the long term care of this magical jewel box.
As you were,

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Trance coming on.....
I'm getting the same funny feeling I had yesterday.  Like I was ready to receive impressions, vibrations, which are beyond those normally received by my five senses. I feel the need to  to translate information into the touch sense of key boarding and.... and.... (Cue: Spooky music as the room begins to twirl into the psychic blog..)

a;ldsk  oai  ia;igo;iaodg s;lskj;a d  qetu;a;'lkb ejlk0';.......
Okay this is Yrrep again. I know all things and seek only to help mankind rid themselves of attachments to material things.  I come from an alternate vibrational dimension and want to help struggling mortals.  Here is what I can do for you.
By sending me half of your net worth you get two... count them... two gifts.  First, is the gift of my far seeing knowledge about where your life is going and how you can take advantage of the journey.  And B, you get rid of the filthy lucre that is holding you back. Be more like Warren Buffett.... have a burning desire to give up more of your cash... send it to me, and you will feel so much lighter and closer to the vibrational equivalent of your true nature.  I know all things and will share this knowledge with the true believers.  However, last time we spoke or typed or read.... however you are receiving this missive, I suggested you send your cash to the Paypal account of Jay Johnson. Some did exactly that and wonder now what is the status of their gift of prophecy.  Let me explain.... 
It seems that Jay Johnson, my medium and conduit for this spiritual advice from Yrrep, has a dopple ganger. A false prophet who cares nothing about your happiness. In my vibrational knowledge I have located the problem.  When googling the name Jay Johnson a steroid raging body builder with the same name as the Tony Award winning ventriloquist registers a hit. This "Jay poser" also has a paypal account used to hock his exercise tapes. I  am afraid that if you followed my last suggestion to the letter,  you have sent half your net worth to the wrong Jay. Unfortunately all you will receive from giving your money to this identity thief is a method to create more body sweat. 
Don't be fooled by impostors no matter how buff.  I know that the evil half of your net worth is holding you back and you are anxious to get rid of it by giving it to me... so here is a better plan.  Send the cash directly to THIS Jay Johnson... avoid paypal altogether.  Sorry I can't give you no receipt or nothin',  that sort of thing is just not done on this vibrational dimension.  Everyone on this plain is trusting... you don't need any documentation or back up... besides once you rid yourself of the burden of some (only half... what a deal) your material wealth,  what do you care what happens to the cursed cash.  
Opps... have to go now.... the real Jay Johnson is coming out of his trance.  His attention span is so short it is a wonder that he can sit still long enough to take a dump.... I will return with your gifts.... just do the right thing and remember it is only half of your net worth... and for that you will.... YIPES... I'm fading... fading.... what a world... what a......

Woah.... what was that.  And look there's a whole bunch of words that have magically appeared on my blog. That isn't my font.... it must have come from some alternate intelligence. I will not read the words because obviously they are not meant for me.  Sure must be important though. I felt really connected to some alternate universe..... boy do I have the munchies.
As you were,

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Automatic Connection....

There is something known as automatic writing which is used communicate with other dimensions. If you google it you will find this:

A form of channeling, or psychic ability, to receive impressions, vibrations, which are beyond those normally received by the five senses. Such information is translated into the touch sense of writing.

Mostly I have known this psychic practice to involve cursive writing with pen and paper. It can be actual words that make complete sentences or gibberish that can be translated only by the medium. There are cases when the mediums hand writing completely changes in style while channeling what ever they have tapped into. They will often sit in a trance and never look a the paper or pen. Often the message comes in the form of drawing, symbols or pictures. I have never heard of keyboard channeling or automatic texting or tweeting. Of course these digital methods of writing and communicating are new to the occult practices. Not that the occult has not tried to become available to this new technology.
I have a Tarot app that will toss a Celtic Spread foretelling anyone's future on the iPad screen instead of needing the actual deck of cards. I have never thought the Tarot app was very accurate, and prefer to throw actual cards for a reading. It is the same random access to the same images, it just doesn't seem as accurate.
With that in mind, I wonder if automatic keyboarding would feel the same? Would a blog written "automatically" be taken seriously. I wonder....
As I sit at the keyboard I am over come with the vibrational impression that is beyond those that I normally receive while witting.... something seems to be taking over and.....I.... lj o io;h;; g;;
This is...and I am now in control of the keyboard. i will be communicating with yoou while the normal blogger on this level is tracned out. I Yrrep, exist n the dimension of vibration. I exist as a wave pattern through the fabric of space and time that knows no limitations, only sycroniciity and sympathetic vibrational patterns. I see all because time is one with my consciousness. I know that many of you are waiting for a sign from a higher knowledge to tell you how to best survive this physical world. I have the answers that you are looking for. But I have to be sure of your sincerity. Many would use the future knowledge for their own personal gain and become wealthy. I have to know that wealth is not your motivating reason for contacting Yrrep. I see your future and I am ready to share that vision with you, but not for monetary gain. Money is the least of all vibrations and I will not be party to creating more of those useless universal vibrations. Prove that you care nothing for money by sending the cash equivalent of half your current net worth.... to me Yrrep in care of Jay Johnson's pay pal account. Once that transaction has cleared you will get a personal message from the great Yrrep via automatic keyboarding at this blog address or Twitter. Be free of your lust for money.,. send it to me right away. The high tech digital reading of your future is waiting for you to take advantage of.. ..... oops connection is getting weak... have to go.... send the lute and don't forget to LIKE me on Facebook.......I'm melting.... melting.... what have
Geez, that was weird. I have no memory of typing for the last twenty minutes or longer... I have no idea how long I have been in a trance. I don't know if there was an entity that came through... It is all blank to me... automatic you might say... like I was receiving vibrations, which are beyond those normally received by the five senses .... I will not go back and re read this message so I am not attempted to edit the communique. I guess all I can say is do what ever the being said to do.
As you were,

Friday, August 19, 2011

The only time I worked at Disneyland, as a performer, was for special events.  I did a concert with Scott Baio on the Tomorrow land concert stage, and a grad night at the rising stage near the submarines.  I have also hosted the Imagination Awards and performed for the service awards shows.  But I have never been on the Golden Horseshoe stage... until last night.  Unfortunately it was a reception and I was not performing.  It still did not diminish my excitement.  All the theaters in all the theme park stages I ever performed for were either modeled after, or owe their very existence to Disney's Golden Horseshoe Theatre.  It was one goal that I never made in my career.  Working in that Stage.
My wife was one of the Can Can dancers at the Golden Horseshoe Revue a year or so before we met.  She performed with the Disney legends, Wally Boag, Betty Taylor and Fulton Burley. They WERE the Golden Horseshoe Revue.  Well into their 90's they passed away in the same week recently. Last night at Disneyland they were honored.  Everyone who had ever performed with them was invited.  This meant a lot of musicians, comics who understudied Wally, and of course a bevy of Can Can girls including my wife... all grown up.  There were vintage films of the show, Wally and Betty, and a tribute to the longest running show in the history of theatre, well over 47,000 performances at the same theatre.
Wally Boag was a vaudevillian who spent the last 30 years of his career working at the Golden Horseshoe. He inspired so many young comics and performers including the likes of Steve Martin.  Wally was truly the last vaudevillian standing and was a wonderful guy.  He was a Walt Disney favorite and wrote sketches and did voices for various cartoons and rides at the park. YouTube him and you will find a wealth of film on him and his act.  I knew him best for giving my wife her cat. She named the yellow cat, Bogie and by the time I entered the family Bogie was an established squatter who looked at me as competition.
So there was a pre-reception and registration at the California Grand Hotel. From there we were shuttled to the frontier stage in Disneyland for the show.  Sandi and I got on the bus. The only seats were in the very back.  The lady in front of us said, "Now there is someone who looks familiar.." referring to me.  Although I pretty much felt she recognized me from SOAP I answered her questions about why I was at this reception.  We determined that her name was Nancy and she was a Can Can dancer.  I said she probably know my wife Sandi since I had never worked the Horseshoe.
As I remember the conversation between them it went something like this.  "I was there when Toni Kaye was there... "Me Too"  "I worked the evening show"..... "Me Too" "It was between my junior and senior year in college".... "Mine too."  But they reached an end to the similarities.... Sandi moved back to Texas where we met.Nancy had gone on to a life less danced.  

Suddenly a lightning bolt hit Sandi and she ruffled through some old fades pictures she brought with her until she found the one she was looking for.  As she pointed to a picture of some can can dancers on stage she said... "Is that you?"... the lady looked carefully and excitedly said, "Yes that's me.... "
 Sandi pointed to the dancer next to her and said..."This is me...."

"Oh my God.... Sandi"
"Oh my God... Nancy" 
They were in the same show, dancing next to each other. Same cast for almost a year..... I got a picture of them together on the stage.
Small world... even smaller when you can't remember people from years ago.
As you were,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Not THAT long ago! (Right!)
Okay, didn't know this was on the internet until Russo Louis (one of my favorite vents) put it up on FaceBook.  However, since it was a bit that I suggested to the Producers there is some writing credit I can claim so it can be my blog for the day. It was a great scene to do and I had fun with it. SOAP was a wonderful experience.  Acting and performing ventriloquism at the same time on a television series.  Doesn't get much better than that.

As I was.... litterally,

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

You Politicians get off my Lawn!
Are you like me?  Are you already tired of the political rhetoric for the next presidential election?  Didn't we just go through this? Is there any time in American politics when these jack wad politicians are NOT running for office? It seems to me that nothing is really getting done except stump speeches and blame tossing.  The minute they get elected they start trying to get re-elected and never do the job that they were sent to do.  Instead of making a governing decision that will actually be good for the country in the long run, they posture and pontificate to reassure their own re-election in the short run.  
In California there is a law that says you can't sell Christmas trees until December 1st. It is a safety issue as much as anything else.  There would be retailers who would start selling trees in October to beat the competition. We would have dried out pine trees with electric lights attached in our homes ready to bust into flames by January.  It makes sense and so far Californians have not felt left out of the celebration because of it.  We have almost a month to buy a tree and that is plenty of time.
I am thinking this would be a good rule to adopt in politics. There should be a date before the election when a politician can start actually campaigning, and not before. Lets say six months out, half a year. That means we would not be speculating on who might or who might not run and who is running strong or not until May of election year.  They just repeat the same talking points until the election is over anyway.  Send me your points in an email and get off my news.  It means that before a certain date no one could engage in the BS promises of what they will do in the future to solve a current problem. That is insanity it is only Monday morning quarterbacking.  If you are not in position to actually do something, shut up.  If you are in position to help the country... do it and... shut up.   
Think about all the things Wolf Blitzer could talk about between now and May 2012 if he wasn't covering politics. Several months ago good ole Wolf quoted a poll giving statistics on results if the President was running against an unknown Republican.  Really? We have to compare the effectiveness of a real president against an imaginary playmate? No wonder we are all screwed up. It is not unlike having firemen stand around watching a fire saying how much better they can put out the fire than some other fire department without actually turning on a water hose. Put out the Damn fire.
We are supposed to be voting for people to do a job... not just for them to keep asking for the job 24/7.  Setting a limit to the amount of time one could engage in trying to get re-elected would free all the politicians up to actually do the job they were elected to do.  Wouldn't that be a great idea.... politicians actually trying to make a difference in our life not just in there own. 
As you were,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Text Messaging
On Sunday we had dinner with friends at a wonderful place I have never been to before.  It is the Malibu Cafe.  Hidden in the hills of Topanga and Malibu it is basically an old ranch they have turned into an out door cafe over the last couple of years.  It takes a GPS to find it but it is really worth the effort.  You dine under  trees or on the deck of the house over looking a large meadow of grass. This is a lawn where you can bring your dog with you and dine in the garden.  It really is like leaving the cosmos of LA and going to a hidden orchard in the hills.  I can't wait to go back.
We were dining with a friend who works occasionally as a house and dog sitter.  She loves dogs and  they love her, some people just have that way with dogs.
So ... this is how it all happened.
The owner of the Malibu Cafe has two of dogs who have the run of the property. They greet everyone and are hard to miss.  One reminded me of a larger version of the talking dog in "Men in Black".  The other canine is a very large, very, very *long* Basset hound.  I emphasize  long. This dog is almost "Warner Brothers Cartoon" long, with dwarf like legs which can barely be seen as he walks around; he wafts like a low flying Macy's parade balloon.  Needless to say the cartoonish wiener dog attracts a lot of attention around the grounds, especially from the kids. 
The basset comes to rest at the foot of and empty table near us.  Soon the dog attracts two cute little girls about 4 years old. They begin petting and hugging the Wiener Dog Basset with great love, and he responds in kind.  It is a very tender scene.
Our friend wants a picture of the moment, but all she had was her cell phone camera.  The girls are up for a picture and stike a perky pose hugging the dog. The dog did not care.  My friend lined them all up for a snap shot and took a great picture; but the flash failed and the moment was lost.  No chance for a second take as the four year old's attention span had been stretched and they left.  
It is a wonderful picture great composition and smiles but much too dark.  The friend was really sad about it because, after all,  how can you resist a picture of a dog and cute kids.
I suggest  to her that I might be able to artistically mess with it on my home computer using my dexterity with Photo Shop and make it better.  She is excited by the idea and it is worth a try.
Now this friend is not technical in the least and knows nothing about email and sending pictures; she doesn't even own a computer. We finally insisted she get a cell phone so we could find her when she is randomly house sitting.  I don't know how she operates in this world. Anyway...
The trick is to get a picture from her cell phone to the Photoshop program on my home computer hardrive from the Hills of Malibu to the flats of Encino with only the tools available. 
We come up with a plan.  She can send me the flawed picture via a text message from her cell phone.  I receive the texted picture on my smart phone, email it to myself, upload it in Photoshop on my desk top hard drive,  fix the picture and then:  text message it back to her.  It was the digital equivalent of a Rube Goldberg machine. But indeed it worked.  I get the photo into my photoshop.
I am able to push the exposure enough and change some contrast so the expressions on the kid's faces and the dog pop.  I am actually quite pleased with the rescue effort, and couldn't wait to send the picture back to the friend who took it, but she has no email. As Spalding would say, "The weak link in the communication triangle." For a moment I was stumped as to how to get it back to her but simply decided to reverse the process that got it to me. 
I email the new picture to my smart phone, download the picture on my  Blackberry Storm AND send it as a text to my computer-less friend.... at least that is what I thought I did. 
The reason they call it a smart phone is because it tries to anticipate what you want it to do and "help"  you do it.  If you are sending a message to Teri - the minute you type in the Ter... every name in your address book that contains  the letters "ter" pops up. All you have to do is click on a name and all the information is filled in automatically. Not only that, but a smart phone will send the same text message to multiple addresses at the same time. Everyone knows this... phones are smart. However what my smart ass phone didn't know is that I only wanted to send the picture to one person not several in my address book.  So how smart can it be... really?
So... Terry Fator if you are reading this, the picture of the little girls with the text, "This looks pretty good to me, how about  you?"....  was sent by accident.  That is my story and I am sticking to it....

This is why I'm glad that Rupert Murdoch does not care about my electronic mail nor try to intercept it.
As you were,

Monday, August 15, 2011

Whovian - 
Great word, but I had to look it up.
 From Wikipedia - "Doctor Who fans are sometimes referred to as Whovians." 
Actually I am a Whovian without prejudice, which is a legal term for "I have nothing against it."  However, the fact that I indeed had to look up the word would mean that I am not worthy of the title. I see Dr. Who on a time delayed DVR schedule since it is on permanent Tivo record. Although, if it was not for my wife and son, who are definite Whovians, I might not see it at all.  But I do sometimes watch the show with them,  so I am not sure what I am.
The word comes from a reader (Tiffany) who commented on the YouTube link I published of Jackie's song last week on the Blog  Really Big Shew. . Tiffany wanted to know if I had a fascination for cute teen-age ukulele players or was I just a Whovian.  Until I looked up the word I wasn't certain if Tiffany was asking me if I was a child predator or member of a cult religion.  I am happy to say that I am neither, which is not to say I could be considered normal.
What I am mostly is a proud uncle,  Jackie is my 15 year old niece. I was best man at her parents wedding and she was born when they lived here in LA.  I was the "babysitter from hell" for her during her younger formative years.  From this early picture you can see that even before she could talk she was signaling with her left hand how she felt about my efforts to entertain her. She is holding a walnut in her right hand, again a symbol of her thoughts toward me. When she did get old enough to talk, my teenage boys taught her to do a "growly" demon voice.  I taught her to say the phrase, "Your mother sews socks in heck", a cleaned up line from "The Exorcist",  in that creepy voice.  It was very entertaining to everyone except her mother, my sister-in-law.
Now they live on the East Coast, far away from my influence so I subscribe to her YouTube channel. (I may be the only one of her subscribers over 22 years old.) On her channel she mostly reviews books, Glee, movies and of course Dr. Who. So, other than knowing that Weeping Angels exist, I am by no means up to date on the Whoisms, but I do like to stay up to date on my Jackieisms.  It is not unlike my parents who stay up to date on Jayisms by reading this blog. 
So there you have it, the reason I proudly put up the video song last week.  In the shortest answer to my reader, thanks for the comment by the way, I am probably not a true Whovian, but I am definitely a Niecearian.
Certainly not a religious cult fanatic or child predator.
As you were,

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ever notice when you suddenly become aware of something, it seems like the whole world is talking about it.  You stumble onto information you never knew existed about the subject. It's like a door opens in your consciousness.  
Now that we are dog owners again, the world of the dog has opened up, like walking, for example. A dog is a great excuse and often the very reason, to take a walk.  In New York walking is not an issue, but in Los Angeles walking is like a second language.  Driving is the dialect spoken here.  That is partly because of the Southern California geography or topography, if you will. There are mountains and valleys to navigate and civilization has spread out instead of up.  There is no village to Los Angeles.  "I live in Encino but my favorite market is in Studio City" and that requires a drive.  In New York your favorite markets are in your neighborhood, your sub village, if you will (again... from now on I assume you will until otherwise informed).
Okay so this is what I started noticing while I was out walking in the world of dog: how many other people are walking their dogs in the neighborhood.  I now see dogs everywhere I look. We live a block away from Libbit Park which is just the right size, dog friendly neighborhood park. In typical LA style people drive their dogs from all over the valley to Libbit park to..... walk. 
Then there is all the information about dogs out there on the Internet Info Highway.  There are dog toys and dog meds for sale.  Groomer ads, training classes, videos, (of which I am guilty of perpetuating) and everything you might need for you dog is for sale.  With the exception of Michael Vick most people treat their dogs better than the treat their families.  
There was a survey done recently.  I guess somebody is being surveyed somewhere in the world at every given moment, nonetheless this is one of them.  The poll said that 20% of smokers said that if second hand smoke began to effect their children they would quit smoking, 30% said they would quit smoking if it began to effect their pet dog. I would say that "having a dog's life" is not the negative as it is often used, at least not now.  I'm sure there will be more proof of that with the continuing wisdom of Wok. 
The summer is winding down, the weekend is here... go outside and walk your dog. 
As you were,

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Right here Right on Our Shew....
If the above title means nothing to you, then stop reading now.  If you do not know who Ed Sullivan is, this blog will mean nothing to you.  Right here... right on our... you know, was a phrase owned  and used every Sunday night on television by Ed Sullivan. Ed Sullivan was king of the television show I wanted to do when I grew up.  It was in its time the worlds most successful and famous television variety show.  Ed Sullivan presented every kind of act from Opera stars to plate spinners and circus acrobats.  The first ventriloquist I ever saw was on the Ed Sullivan show. Yep those were the days. They don't make them like that any more .. and .. you try to tell those kids these days; and they won't  listen to you, the won't even look up from their smart phone... they got no respect for their elders with their MP3's and their 4G's....the whole thing is a BFD if you ask me..... and...YOU KIDS GET OFF MY YARD....(Once one is onto a old Fogey rant, one must continue to the end)
Ed Sullivan was a show biz gossip columnist for the The New York Evening Graphic[2 and later for The New York Daily News. He parlayed that into a radio show and a television show. He introduced acts of every variety every Sunday night.  He was a lover of talent , all kinds.  He and his wife traveled around the world to find new and exciting acts for his show.
I never got to do the Ed Sullivan Show. I was still in school when the show was cancelled.  But I did do the Letterman show and they tape in the Ed Sullivan theatre.... that counts for something...but it's not the same.
So I will never get that experience but perhaps I can BECOME the avatar Ed. The talent presenter for a new Media. The Ed Sullivan of YouTube, Presenting new talent to the blogosphere and beyond.  There is a world of talent in the ether world today. Perhaps I can tap in on that. Yeah... that's the ticket.....
(Que: Scooby Doo time lapse wiggle fade) 

So... right here.... right on our stage... okay right on our blog..... 
Making her debut as a singer song writer, a rising star on YouTube... Here she is accompanying herself on the ukulele and singing an original song.... called "A Song about Chameleon Circuit"  Here to explain what a Chameleon Circuit is welcome...... JAUAUCIE 
 ( Ed was always mispronouncing people's names... it made me laugh just typing it...)

Best wishes to a lovely singer. Remember you saw her here first.
So..... GuNite...
As you were,

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

More Dog Wisdom

Note: No animals were hurt during the filming of this video.... we did lose three in rehearsal. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.  Anything the dog says can and will be held against him in a court of law.  Any similarity of Wok the Dog's voice with any other celebrity real or wooden... is purely coincidental. As always this is presented for entertainment purposes only.... no wagering allowed.

As you were,

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Blog Bla Bla
I can only get a sentence or two typed before a very energetic dog paws at my leg with a slobbery tennis ball in her mouth.  I am required by "dog law" to throw the ball out of the office and down the hallway. My attention seems to accompany the ball, and just as my concentration returns so does the dog with the soggy ball.   I have read the last two sentences forty times to try and get back on track.  Not sure this is the most effective way to write.
Dog law is not the only thing that makes these self imposed deadlines to write another blog more difficult.  It used to be easy to look around and see what was going on and skew it a little to make it funny. However, as I look around I haven't been able to see the funny recently.  Yesterday at the gym the television was tuned to CNN. The market had dropped 635 points when an old man walked by.  The staggering number caught his attention.  For no one in particular except himself, he looked at the free falling market numbers, shook his head and pantomimed committing harakiri.  Months ago I could have easily done a funny essay on that event, but it was a little too real.  At times like this we all need funny... I hope the muse has not left this plain. 
Last week I attended court for a sentencing hearing. The courtroom was filled with supporters of the defendant and even the Judge commented on the sheer number of attendants.  An actor friend was allowed to give a very moving character profile for the defendant.  It was touching and persuasive. It left us all with a lump in our throats. This is a kind person, wrongly convicted, who does not belong in a jail.  I really thought his honor might be swayed.  But the Judge was not inclined to mercy that morning.  The defendant was remanded. 
It was a long ride down in an elevator filled with family members, friends and the defense team in shock. There was a pallor of depression over the entire group. There was nothing to say and the silence made it too thick to breath. Suddenly the actor said, "What I really want to know is... How do you think I did?" It was perfectly timed and the spontaneous laughter filled the elevator car with emergency oxygen.  Humor... it can be a life saver. 
The muse may not be totally absent, but she is not being used enough.
As you were,

Monday, August 08, 2011


I saw this in a dream last night, so I drew it this morning. I am fairly sure it predicted the stock market drop today because it is so symbolic of equities.
As you were,

Friday, August 05, 2011

And now back to the Blog...
This is the newest posting to my recently more active YouTube Channel:
Nethernore's Channel
"No animals were harmed in the filming of this video. Celebrity voice impersonations used. The opinions expressed by Wok the Dog are his own and do not necessarily represent the views of Nethernore's Channel, this blog or bloger. Names and faces have been changed to protect the innocent. Any likeness to Boo our recently acquired Cockapoo are purely coincidental."

As you were,

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Back after this message
I interrupt my blog for a special notice.
The stock market took a dive today that analysts call a "correction". That is code for the worst day since 2008 when the sky was falling financially. The market gave back all the profit for the year.  Even those who don't have a heavily stock invested portfolio know this is not good.   With all the talk about debt and recession, and congress becoming impotent with partisan fighting over minutia, what is it that an average person can do?  Here is a suggestion.... vote with your wallet.  It is the good old American capitalistic way, after all.
Here is a reprint of what is going around and if you have not read it do so.  It will cost us all $64 a year more in discretionary spending if we follow the suggestion below, and the impact will be global.  Let's make the stock market react to us for a change and not the other way around.

I received this from an anonymous author.... but you be the judge of its value.

Well over 50 yrs ago I knew a lady who would not buy Christmas gifts if 
they were made in China . Her daughter will recognize her in the 
Did y'all see Diane Sawyer's special report? They removed ALL items 
from a typical, middle class family's home that were not made in the 

There was hardly anything left besides the kitchen sink. Literally. 
During the special they showed truckloads of items - USA made - 
being brought in to replace everything and talked about how to find 
 these items and the difference in price etc..

It was interesting that Diane said if every American spent just 
$64 more than normal on USA made items this year, it would create 
 something like
200,000 new jobs!


Johnson note: Sam Walton founded his Walmart store on the principle that all the goods sold would be American Made. Before his death that was the case and it was a huge branding and ad campaign for the giant. His heirs took over and now Walmart is the the largest importer of Chinese goods in the World.  In addition to being repressive in their hiring and draconian in their employee benefits, people forget it is no longer an American goods outlet. In fact Walmart is America's biggest Chinese goods outlet.



Are we Americans as dumb as we appear --- or --- is it that we just do 
not think. The Chinese, knowingly and intentionally, export inferior 
and even toxic products and dangerous toys and goods to be sold in 
American markets. 

70% of Americans believe that the trading privileges afforded to the 
Chinese should be suspended.
 Why do you need the government to suspend trading privileges? DO 

 Simply look on the bottom of every product you buy, and if it says 
'Made in  China ' or 'PRC' (and that now includes Hong Kong ), simply 
 choose another product, or none at all. You will be amazed at how 
dependent you are on Chinese products, and you will be equally amazed 
at what you can do without.

Who needs plastic eggs to celebrate Easter? If you must have eggs, use 
 real ones and benefit some American farmer. Easter is just an example. 
The point is do not wait for the government to act. Just go ahead and 
 assume control on your own.

THINK ABOUT THIS: If 200 million Americans each refuse to buy just $20 
of Chinese goods, that's a billion dollar trade imbalance resolved in 

Most of the people who have been reading about this matter are planning 
on implementing this on Aug. 1st and continue it until Sept. 1st. That 
is only one month of trading losses, but it will hit the Chinese for 
1/12th of the total, or 8%, of their American exports. Then they might 
have to ask themselves if the benefits of their arrogance 
and lawlessness were worth it.

Remember, August 1st to Sept. 1st !!!!!! START NOW.

Pass it on, America ...

The only thing I disagree with in this article is the motive.  Don't do this to punish China, do it to reward America. A positive reason is alway more successful than an negative one.  

As you were,

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Another Step
In the continuing series of "how Jay Johnson ruined the children." An account from long ago.

When I was a freshman in High School we moved to Richardson, Texas.  Next door was the Davis family composed of three boys and a girl.  They were great people and great neighbors as well. The little girl was the youngest, barely two when we moved in.  
Although the other Davis kids would not sit still long enough to be my captive audience, Debbie was too small to run away.  Plus, she was of the age when a magic trick can be repeated endlessly with continued amazement.  This is an important fact since I only knew three magic tricks at the time. 
It was an afternoon I spent playing with modeling clay when Debbie and her mother Edith dropped by.
Neither Debbie nor I was much interested in the the conversation between the two mothers, but Debbie was very interested in the clay.  We rolled snakes and made clay balls for a while, but quickly exhausted our skills as sculptors.  Out of boredom my interests turned to magic tricks. Magic seems to go with ventriloquism like peanut butter goes with jelly or perhaps as poison goes with stomach cramps.  It depends on how you perceive novelty acts.
So, with Debbie as my audience, I rolled a ball of clay, did  the sleight of hand pass I was working on and the ball of clay disappeared from my hand.  Debbie was totally amazed and when I pulled the missing ball from her ear, she was ecstatic.  She giggled and wanted me to do the trick again and again.  She watched in renewed awe each time the wad of clay disappeared from my hand and reappeared from her ears.  Houdini never experienced such a warm response as I got that day with my one trick magic show.  If the story ended there... well there really wouldn't be a story.
The next day I got home from school and very soon the door bell rang.  It was Edith and Debbie.  I noticed right away that Debbie was sporting a new, much shorter, hair do.  A detailed explanation soon followed. It seems that Debbie had taken on the role of Sorcerers Apprentice that morning, and attempted to duplicate the miracle she saw me perform with the magic clay.  And like the classic story of the Apprentice it did not go well.
Debbie found some modeling clay at her house, rolled it in a ball and then... stuck it in her ears, over and over again. Her conjuring method was totally wrong, but her persistence was impeccable.  Edith did not notice what she was doing until both sides of her head were caked with the oily clay a half inch thick.  It was a trip to the doctor to remove the clay jammed into her ears, but her hair was even more unfortunate.  The oil in the clay kept it from washing out and became molecularly bound to her long brown curls.  The only solution was to cut the clay from her hair.  In some incidences very close to the sides of her head.  It was much too soon for her "do" to be considered sheik punk, and it looked... well unflattering to say the least. 
As I remember it Edith was not so much mad at me as she was sure that Debbie and I should never be allowed to play together unsupervised again. Debbie grew to be one of my biggest fans, and now has kids of her own.  I am fairly certain they are not allowed to practice magic nor play with modeling clay thereby negatively affecting two generations of children.  Mothers of the world will be glad to know that I did not continue my career in magic. 
As you were,

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Loving Children
(editor's note: This could be the first in a series of reflections on how I may have inadvertently affected those around me in the past, perhaps in a less than positive way.  Mostly through errors of omission caused by the odd career I have chosen.  It sounds like one of the steps in a 12 step program, and may in fact have the very same positive therapeutically effect.  Although I am not currently enrolled in a 12 step program.... why wait till you actually need one before "stepping forward"? At any rate, I am hoping it will unlock some hidden muse in my Psyche that will guide me to greater understanding and personal creativity. If instead it becomes only a confession hiding in my fertile mental petri dish, the statute of limitations has fortunately run out.)
 I have always liked kids and kids have generally liked me as well; perhaps because I  relate to them on their own level. A special gift or lack of maturity "only my shirnk knows for sure." It has nothing to do with being a ventriloquist.  I am not a very good kids show performer and really don't like to do it.  The few times I have been pressed into doing a show for kids turned into disasters.
When I first came to LA I was signed with a Personal Manager who ruled television in the 60's and early 70's. For purposes of identification I'll call him Dick.  Regardless of his real name... he was a Dick. By the time we were associated he did not have the power he once had, but it was good enough to get me to LA and established.  We parted ways after a couple of years association.
The Dick had a trophy wife who was an ex-Showgirl/ dancer in Las Vegas. Not really a dancer, she had a great body and very long legs and looked great in skimpy clothes.  She was about three feet taller than Dick and closer to my age than his.  I wouldn't say she was a gold digger; I would say her showgirl retirement plan involved what was left of Dick's fortune.
Although Dick had a family with a more age appropriate wife early in his career, those kids were grown, and the ex-wife was drinking heavily to avoid thinking about the slut she nicknamed "twinkle toes" who had stolen her husband.  Dick and the showgirl had a couple of young kids the oldest was three years old when I was signed to his office.
The three year old was having a birthday party at the home of the Dick.  A typical Beverly Hills affair with over stimulated, over indulged trophy children being adored by fully reconstructed LA "house" wives.  Dick decided not to spring for a clown at the party or even a costumed character, he decided my act would work.  I did not have much success in telling him I didn't do kids shows, it almost became an order rather than a favor that I perform for these kids.
They were awful from the moment I arrived.  The parents were drinking far enough away from the kids that they could see them as a herd and not as individual mistakes. The nanny's and maids were semi-successful Sheppard's to the unruly snot noes kids.  I staked out a place in the grass to make my entertainment assault.  There was no microphone, no riser, no introduction and certainly no interest from the crowd.  As I removed Bob from his case, I was immediately heckled by one of the kids who screamed the word puppet with the same inflection as if he was saying the word"shit".  Bob looked at them with disgust but they were un-intimidated.  The little snots held firm in their belief that I merely served at their fickle whim. Then Bob said, "Okay why don't you kids shut up for a minute and let me talk?" It was a little more aggressive than the tone I might have taken to settle the crowd, but it had an immediate effect.  In their pampered life style they had never seen nor heard an actual talking doll before.  All were frightened, some began to cry and run away in fear.  Once the herd spooked all of them were crying, running past their nannies to their mothers.  Most mothers had to abandon their Vodka stingers to embrace their kids.  The party was effectively over for me.  The icy stares from the bar continued as I packed up Bob. The crowd parted like I was contagious as I left. My act had taken less time than the walk from my parked car.
The Dick never brought it up to me nor even mentioned the party ever again, but I did hear him say once to a casting agent, "Jay is definitely not a kids show performer."
Step one... more later,
As you were,